Pericyte Dysfunction Contributes to Vascular Cognitive Impairment Induced by Chronic Cerebral Hypoperfusion in Rats




0000-0002-1336-348X (Jin, Kunlin)

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Aging and Disease


Vascular cognitive impairment (VCI) encompasses cognitive disorders associated with cerebrovascular disease, often manifesting as white matter lesions (WMLs), irrespective of precise triggers. The integrity of white matter is essential for neural communication and cognitive function maintenance. Persistent cerebral hypoperfusion-induced WMLs are now acknowledged as a key driver of VCI and dementia, though their exact formation mechanism remains unclear. Recent studies link pericyte dysfunction to diverse brain disorders like Alzheimer disease. However, the exact pathological connection between pericyte dysfunction and cognitive impairment in VCI remains unexplored. In this study, we aimed to examine whether pericyte dysfunction could impact WMLs and cognitive impairment in a rat VCI model. Using a rat model of chronic cerebral hypoperfusion-induced VCI through two-vessel occlusion (2VO), we verified that 2VO induced both WMLs and cognitive impairment. Notably, the number of pericytes in the brain was significantly altered after 2VO. Furthermore, we observed significantly increased capillary constrictions at pericyte bodies in the brains of 2VO-induced rats compared to sham-operated rats, accompanied by reduced cerebral blood flow (CBF). To tackle this issue, we administered CGS21680, a specific adenosine A2A subtype receptor agonist, intranasally twice a day for 7 days. We found that rats treated with CGS21680 exhibited a significant increase in CBF at 7 and 14 days after 2VO, compared to the vehicle group. Moreover, capillary lumens beneath pericytes also increased after the CGS21680 treatment. Importantly, the treatment led to substantial improvements in WMLs and cognitive impairment compared to the vehicle group. Our findings suggest a critical role of pericyte dysfunction in WMLs and cognitive impairment within the rat VCI model. This insight contributes to our understanding of pathogenesis and offers prospects for targeted intervention in VCI.



Lin, S., Landon, B., Zhang, H., & Jin, K. (2024). Pericyte Dysfunction Contributes to Vascular Cognitive Impairment Induced by Chronic Cerebral Hypoperfusion in Rats. Aging and disease, 15(3), 1357-1372.


© 2023 Lin S. et al.


Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0 DEED)